ICAC's figures highlight private sector focus and high conviction rate

The Independent Commission Against Corruption ("ICAC") is regarded as one of the most aggressive enforcement agencies in the world. Its latest published figures endorse this position by highlighting its strong complaint to conviction rate.

The ICAC received around 2,700 corruption complaints in January to November 2017, representing a small decrease compared to 2016.

Of these complaints:

67% related to the private sector; approximately 75% were pursuable; 74% were non-anonymous; 41% were from the building management sector; and 6% were from the finance and insurance sector.

In response to these figures, the ICAC has allocated extra resources to combatting private sector corruption given that it represents approximately two thirds of complaints.  The ICAC further announced that, in the first 11 months of 2017, 176 people were prosecuted with an overall conviction rate of 81%.

Update on allegations of international bribery against former senior Hong Kong official

Following our earlier summary of the bribery accusations leveled by US authorities against Hong Kong's former home affairs secretary, Patrick Ho, Mr Ho has pleaded not guilty to eight bribery and money laundering charges. This is unsurprising as the prosecution has yet to provide Mr Ho's lawyers with full details of what evidence they plan to lead at trial. This raises the possibility of a different plea being entered once his defence team has had the opportunity to consider the evidence against him.

Mr Ho's lawyers had last year sought bail at US$1 million but were denied. They again sought bail, this time at US$10 million, but this was not addressed by the judge.

The trial is expected to take place in January 2019.

Kennedy Wong acquitted of bribery

Kennedy Wong, a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (Beijing's top political advisory body) and a director of Hong Kong Resources Holdings, has been acquitted of bribery.

In the November 2017 edition of his update (which can be found here) we reported on his trial commencing and detailed the accusations made against him. Mr Wong was accused of bribing Herbert Hui (a fellow director) with a share option to keep him favourably disposed in board decisions.

However, after reviewing the evidence, the District Court ruled that the share option was given as a reward for Mr Hui's previous work for the company and to encourage him to continue in his position. The Court further concluded that the payment had not damaged the reputation of the company and had not affected the relationship between it and Mr Hui.

HSF publishes updated guide to anti-bribery and corruption in Hong Kong

Kyle Wombolt, Robert Hunt and Anita Phillips have recently published an updated guide to anti-bribery and corruption in Hong Kong. This has been published by Lexology Navigator and addresses recent developments as well as the legal and regulatory framework. It includes topics such as the provision of gifts and hospitality, corporate liability, record-keeping and reporting, and whistleblowing.